People are more likely to click the first, second or third result in a Google search than any other, and if you’re not on the first page, you’re lost.
According to a study by Ignite Visibility, the first search result gets nearly 45 percent of all clicks. The first three results combined get 60 percent of clicks, and results on the first page get 89 percent of clicks. How does one get on that first page? Through good search engine optimization (SEO) practices.
The rudiments of good SEO are relatively easy to grasp, but it takes a lot of experience and expertise to be a master. There are plenty of resources to support your SEO efforts, though, including courses and tools, many of them free. Or you can hire a outside expert.
It’s a question that has plagued those like Andrew Neuman from the Business.com community. An SEO expert may not seem quite as essential to the ongoing operations of your business as, for example, an accountant or a lawyer, and the consequences of SEO mistakes are not quite as serious as tax or legal mistakes. After all, no one goes to jail for bad SEO practices. Still, plenty of businesses lose revenue because of them. If your SEO needs are beyond what you can teach yourself or manage with beginner-level SEO tools, you may want to tap into outside help.
Can you truly do it yourself?
Budgeting often requires tough decisions. Many of these decisions begin with asking, “Do we really need this?” SEO may be one of the first places you’d think to cut corners. Given enough time, depending on their marketing chops, a business owner can learn to conduct their own SEO at a functional if not expert level. Of course, the time you dedicate has to come from somewhere.
Learning good SEO practices will cost you in time, even if it’s not a line item in your marketing budget. The field is constantly shifting, as Google regularly releases new algorithmic shifts that can affect generally accepted best practices. So there can be much more to it than you thought. As search engines have become more nuanced, they’ve also become harder to fool or “game.” That means good SEO requires far more than the clever use of keywords.
Plus, if you’ve already deprioritized SEO within your budget, you may not make it a high priority as a personal education project either. Thus, deciding to handle SEO yourself can easily morph into not handling it at all.